Poetry International Poetry International
Gedicht

Menna Elfyn

BAGGAGE CAROUSEL

1

A bag is born,
a good baby
the quiet one beside you,
It scares away seat-sharers,
makes companions draw back,
here on the seat
its leathery tongue blub-blubbing
its mouth
an open and shut case,
until you close those lips;
the bag is your memory, too,
your mobile, your squidgy purse,
your headache pills, your gloves,
it holds your sunglasses –
this basketful of light
on the long journey into night.

This is the still centre of the burning world, between your fingers.


2

Only women have fully understood
the possibilities of the little bag:
Yesterday I opened a drawer
and found them lying there,
the red leather one, found
in Manila, one to hide under your coat;
another, studded with jewels for a reception
I take for a little walk to escape idle chit-chat
And find it sanctuary in the ladies’ toilet;
one a shoulder bag,
one that’s a second backbone,
a strong support for your newly-freed hands;
the wear and tear of handbags tells women’s histories;
the tissues which hide the tears,
the order of service, folded in two
to keep out the tears and rain.
In grief, a bag is a stout companion
who truly understands the way ties slacken.


3

What lay behind the snicket of the joke
About Thatcher and her bag?
And where, exactly, was it
When the bomb blew up in Brighton?


4

Midnight at Seiont Manor.
I woke and saw a man
sneaking over my balcony;
When I got out of bed and chased him
There was my bag,
sat there as buck-naked as myself,
shining under a full moon,
open to the whole world.


5

On a tram, in Amsterdam,
a step onto the pavement,
My bag undone
Above the raw lights of this street.


6

Once, as I stood on the pavement
in London,
in our days of protest,
I was mistaken for a whore
because my hands were handbag-less.


7

One of the first words in the Big Book
to live in my mind
was ‘scrip’.
I drew a duffle bag of imagination around me –
Did Adam weave a sack?
Did Abraham rustle up a wallet
to carry his terrible plan up the mountain top?
There couldn’t possibly have been enough bags in the world  
To hold all Noah’s beasties?


8

If one plastic bag
takes a thousand years to rot
Why can’t we in Wales
ban them from our plot?


9

It’s not easy for a committed baglady
to understand anybody who,
rucksack on back, passes through the station,
his shoulders weighed down with Death,
to a strait, dark gate
on a lovely summer’s morning,
to pull a string,
and lay himself, as well
at the trampling feet of suffering

his gift –
a bagful of sorrows.

Other bags are brought
to forensicize limbs and matter
that’s beyond and outside matter –
the only matter that truly matters.


10

The traveller true has one refrain
I’d rather get back home again
Than wait in the rain without my luggage.


11

‘Have fun,’ said the Dutchwoman
As I paid three euros for her bag
on Orange day in the Prinsengracht;
The day I took her satchel home
I felt like a carefree girl.
I intuited the satchel would like a bike.


12

Of all my home’s possessions
The wastepaper basket by my feet
Is my best and dearest friend.
Once it jiggled on the handlebars
of my mother’s bike as she,
a pretty minister’s wife
rode up and down, doing good deeds;
I can smell the lemon in her cake
rise to my nostrils,
see her marble cake whirl
before it swirls into place;
and my fingers, licking icing.

When I look again
the basket is empty
nothing but greybellied words,
cuttings scattered
yn  ‘eisteddfa gwatwarwyr’


13

It’s an old workshop trick,
the question,
‘What’s in the bag?’
A sort of poetry-world
What’s My Line?
The mentor ventures
to mention what the bag shouldn’t contain,
e.g. sinews, and blood, and bone,
reptiles or severed hands.

Today I am watching a CCTV film and
I see the bags.
Oh, how they could be packed
with climbing gear, with flasks
to ease your thirst at the journey’s end.
Oh, how they could be full
of gifts, a late present for a lover
or a new book to read.

But the imagination dulls,
threadbare from humanity’s wear and tear,
its evil, so black and merciless.

This is a game without rhyme, or reason.
It is no longer appropriate.


14

Plath said
that poets make the most sublime packers
each word squeezed in tight
before we sit on the case, struggle to get it shut.


15

At the Assembly
(according to the wags)
the esteemed lady members
worry where to place their bags.

16

At life’s end
no need to worry
where we left our bags
this is the journey we need to take without our baggage.

Carwsel o fagiau

Carwsel o fagiau

1

A daw bag i’r byd
Yn faban ufudd,
Yr un distaw
Wrth eich ochr,
Ar drên, ceidw rhai draw,
Un sy’n swilio cwmni,
Yma, ar sedd
Ei dafod lledr sy’n blyban –
Cau ac agor ceg,
Cyn ichi gau’r gwefusau;
Y bag hefyd yw’r cof,
Eich ffôn-ar-y-lôn, pwrs clyd,
Tabledi cur pen, menig,
Ceidw sbectol haul –
Bagedyn o oleuni yw
Ar siwrne faith,

Hwn yw bydysawd llonydd y byd gwenfflam, rhwng eich bodiau.


2

Fe ddeallodd gwragedd
Fendithion y bag bach:
Agor drôr ddoe ddiwethaf
A’u cael ar orwedd,
Yr un o ledr coch a gafwyd
Ym Manila, un-cuddio-dan-ddillad,
Un arall, llawn gemau, at bwrpas cinio crand;
Gyda hwn , af am dro i osgoi mân siarad
A’i lochesu yn seintwar stafell y genethod;
Un dros ysgwydd,
A’r un sy’n ail asgwrn cefn
Yn eich cefn hefyd ym mhob penrhyddid llaw;
Hanes merched yw hanes traul eu bagiau;
Yr hancesi papur a guddia ddagrau ,
A’r daflen angladdol a blygir yn ddau
I’w gadw’n ddwrglos.
Bydd bag ar ôl galar yn gyfaill hawdd ei gael
-fe ddeall holl linynnau’n llaesu


3

Beth oedd tu mewn i glicied y  jôc
Am Thatcher a’i bag?
A ble oedd hwnnw
Adeg y bom yn Brighton?


4

Ganol nos, unwaith yn Seiont Manor,
Fe ddihunes a gweld dyn
Yn sleifio dros falconi fy ‘stafell;
A phan godes, a’i gwrso
Dyna lle roedd fy mag ,
Yno’n sefyll,
Yn noethlymun, fel minne;
Ar agor i’r byd,
Llathrudd dan leuad lawn.


5

Ar dram, yn Amsterdam
Camu i’r palmant,
Fy mag  wedi ei matryd
Uwch goleuadau cras y stryd.


6

Unwaith, wrth sefyll ar balmant
Yn Llundain,
Yn nyddiau’r gwrthdystio,
Cael fy nghamgymryd
Am butain,
Am na fagwn rhwng fy nwylo-fag.


7

Un o’r geiriau cyntaf o’r Hen Lyfr
Imi ddal yn fy nghof
Oedd ‘ysgrepan’,
A chasglodd gwdyn dychmygus amdanaf –
A weithiodd Adda  sach?
A drefnodd Abraham ffetan
I gario ‘i gynllwyn i ben y mynydd?
Tebyg nad oedd ‘na ddigon o godau
Yn bosib i ddal holl rywogaethau Noa?


8

Os yw un bag plastig
Yn cymryd mil o flynyddoedd
I bydru
Pam yn  y byd na allwn eu gwahardd
O dir Cymru?


9

Mae’n anodd i eiriolwr bagiau
Ddeall y sawl – pwn ar gefn,
Yn myned trwy orsaf
Angau’n oedi ar ysgwyddau
At borth gyfyng, dywyll,
Bore hyfryd o haf,
I ddatod lliynynnau,
A’i gynnwys  yn gynsail
I  ddamsang ing

Rhodd –
Bagad gofidiau.

Yna, sachau newydd a gludwyd
I fforensigeiddio aelodau a mater
Tu hwnt a thu draw i fater –
Yr unig fater sy wir yn cyfri’


10

Un ddameg sy i’r teithiwr triw:
Mae cyrraedd yn fyw
Yn rhagori ar giw yn ‘lost luggage’.


11

‘Mynnwch hwyl’ meddai’r Iseldires,
Wrth imi ddewis ei bag am dri eiwro
Ar ddydd Oren yn y Prinsengracht;
Ei bag ysgol ydoedd,
A’r diwrnod y caries ef adre
Fe deimlwn fel geneth ysgafndroed
Cyn greddfu y byddai’r bag yn caru cael beic.


12

O bob dim a feddaf yn y ty,
Y basged sbwriel wrth fy nhraed
Yw fy nghyfaill pennaf,
Herciodd unwaith ar ddolennau
Beic fy mam,
Wrth i honno
Fynd ar neges yma a thraw,
Yn wraig gweinidog landeg;
Gallaf glywed y lemwn o’i chacen
Yn codi i’m ffroenau,
Gweld ei chacen marbl yn chwyrlio
Nes dawnsio i’w lle;
A’m bysedd yn llyfu eisin.

Ond edrychaf eto,
A does dim yn y fasged
Dim ond geiriau torllwyd,
Helion  ar wasgar
‘yn eisteddfa gwatwarwyr’.


13

Mae’n hen dric mewn gweithdai,
Rhyw gwestiwn,
‘Beth sydd yn y bag?’
Rhyw  fath o  ‘What’s my Line’
Y byd barddol.
A bydd y  mentor yn mentro
Nodi’r hyn na ellir ei gael yno,
Megis esgyrn a giau a gwaed,
Ymlusgiaid neu ddwylo wedi eu dryllio.

Heddiw, edrychaf ar ffilm CCTV
A gweld y bagiau,
O, fel y medrent fod yn llawn offer
Mynydda, fflasgiau diwallu ar ddiwedd dydd,
O, fel y medrent fod yn llawn
Rhoddion, anrheg hwyr i gariad
Neu lyfr newydd i’w ddarllen.

Ond mae’r dychymyg yn pylu
Gyda thraul dynoliaeth,
A drygioni mor ddi- ddu-drugarog

Dyma gêm ddiawen
Nad yw bellach yn gweddu.


14

Fe ddywedodd Plath
Mai bardd oedd y paciwr
Mwya’ godidog,
Pob gair wedi ei wasgu’n dynn
Cyn inni eistedd ar y cês , straffaglu i’w gau.


15

Yn y Cynulliad
Fe ddywedir  gan rai,
fod yr aelodau benywaidd yn  poeni’n enbyd
ble i osod eu bagiau.


16

Ar ddiwedd ein hoes,
Ni raid inni boeni mwyach
Ble mae’n bagiau,

Dyma un daith sydd ar gyfer dwylo rhydd
Menna  Elfyn

Menna Elfyn

(Verenigd Koninkrijk, 1951)

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Carwsel o fagiau

1

A daw bag i’r byd
Yn faban ufudd,
Yr un distaw
Wrth eich ochr,
Ar drên, ceidw rhai draw,
Un sy’n swilio cwmni,
Yma, ar sedd
Ei dafod lledr sy’n blyban –
Cau ac agor ceg,
Cyn ichi gau’r gwefusau;
Y bag hefyd yw’r cof,
Eich ffôn-ar-y-lôn, pwrs clyd,
Tabledi cur pen, menig,
Ceidw sbectol haul –
Bagedyn o oleuni yw
Ar siwrne faith,

Hwn yw bydysawd llonydd y byd gwenfflam, rhwng eich bodiau.


2

Fe ddeallodd gwragedd
Fendithion y bag bach:
Agor drôr ddoe ddiwethaf
A’u cael ar orwedd,
Yr un o ledr coch a gafwyd
Ym Manila, un-cuddio-dan-ddillad,
Un arall, llawn gemau, at bwrpas cinio crand;
Gyda hwn , af am dro i osgoi mân siarad
A’i lochesu yn seintwar stafell y genethod;
Un dros ysgwydd,
A’r un sy’n ail asgwrn cefn
Yn eich cefn hefyd ym mhob penrhyddid llaw;
Hanes merched yw hanes traul eu bagiau;
Yr hancesi papur a guddia ddagrau ,
A’r daflen angladdol a blygir yn ddau
I’w gadw’n ddwrglos.
Bydd bag ar ôl galar yn gyfaill hawdd ei gael
-fe ddeall holl linynnau’n llaesu


3

Beth oedd tu mewn i glicied y  jôc
Am Thatcher a’i bag?
A ble oedd hwnnw
Adeg y bom yn Brighton?


4

Ganol nos, unwaith yn Seiont Manor,
Fe ddihunes a gweld dyn
Yn sleifio dros falconi fy ‘stafell;
A phan godes, a’i gwrso
Dyna lle roedd fy mag ,
Yno’n sefyll,
Yn noethlymun, fel minne;
Ar agor i’r byd,
Llathrudd dan leuad lawn.


5

Ar dram, yn Amsterdam
Camu i’r palmant,
Fy mag  wedi ei matryd
Uwch goleuadau cras y stryd.


6

Unwaith, wrth sefyll ar balmant
Yn Llundain,
Yn nyddiau’r gwrthdystio,
Cael fy nghamgymryd
Am butain,
Am na fagwn rhwng fy nwylo-fag.


7

Un o’r geiriau cyntaf o’r Hen Lyfr
Imi ddal yn fy nghof
Oedd ‘ysgrepan’,
A chasglodd gwdyn dychmygus amdanaf –
A weithiodd Adda  sach?
A drefnodd Abraham ffetan
I gario ‘i gynllwyn i ben y mynydd?
Tebyg nad oedd ‘na ddigon o godau
Yn bosib i ddal holl rywogaethau Noa?


8

Os yw un bag plastig
Yn cymryd mil o flynyddoedd
I bydru
Pam yn  y byd na allwn eu gwahardd
O dir Cymru?


9

Mae’n anodd i eiriolwr bagiau
Ddeall y sawl – pwn ar gefn,
Yn myned trwy orsaf
Angau’n oedi ar ysgwyddau
At borth gyfyng, dywyll,
Bore hyfryd o haf,
I ddatod lliynynnau,
A’i gynnwys  yn gynsail
I  ddamsang ing

Rhodd –
Bagad gofidiau.

Yna, sachau newydd a gludwyd
I fforensigeiddio aelodau a mater
Tu hwnt a thu draw i fater –
Yr unig fater sy wir yn cyfri’


10

Un ddameg sy i’r teithiwr triw:
Mae cyrraedd yn fyw
Yn rhagori ar giw yn ‘lost luggage’.


11

‘Mynnwch hwyl’ meddai’r Iseldires,
Wrth imi ddewis ei bag am dri eiwro
Ar ddydd Oren yn y Prinsengracht;
Ei bag ysgol ydoedd,
A’r diwrnod y caries ef adre
Fe deimlwn fel geneth ysgafndroed
Cyn greddfu y byddai’r bag yn caru cael beic.


12

O bob dim a feddaf yn y ty,
Y basged sbwriel wrth fy nhraed
Yw fy nghyfaill pennaf,
Herciodd unwaith ar ddolennau
Beic fy mam,
Wrth i honno
Fynd ar neges yma a thraw,
Yn wraig gweinidog landeg;
Gallaf glywed y lemwn o’i chacen
Yn codi i’m ffroenau,
Gweld ei chacen marbl yn chwyrlio
Nes dawnsio i’w lle;
A’m bysedd yn llyfu eisin.

Ond edrychaf eto,
A does dim yn y fasged
Dim ond geiriau torllwyd,
Helion  ar wasgar
‘yn eisteddfa gwatwarwyr’.


13

Mae’n hen dric mewn gweithdai,
Rhyw gwestiwn,
‘Beth sydd yn y bag?’
Rhyw  fath o  ‘What’s my Line’
Y byd barddol.
A bydd y  mentor yn mentro
Nodi’r hyn na ellir ei gael yno,
Megis esgyrn a giau a gwaed,
Ymlusgiaid neu ddwylo wedi eu dryllio.

Heddiw, edrychaf ar ffilm CCTV
A gweld y bagiau,
O, fel y medrent fod yn llawn offer
Mynydda, fflasgiau diwallu ar ddiwedd dydd,
O, fel y medrent fod yn llawn
Rhoddion, anrheg hwyr i gariad
Neu lyfr newydd i’w ddarllen.

Ond mae’r dychymyg yn pylu
Gyda thraul dynoliaeth,
A drygioni mor ddi- ddu-drugarog

Dyma gêm ddiawen
Nad yw bellach yn gweddu.


14

Fe ddywedodd Plath
Mai bardd oedd y paciwr
Mwya’ godidog,
Pob gair wedi ei wasgu’n dynn
Cyn inni eistedd ar y cês , straffaglu i’w gau.


15

Yn y Cynulliad
Fe ddywedir  gan rai,
fod yr aelodau benywaidd yn  poeni’n enbyd
ble i osod eu bagiau.


16

Ar ddiwedd ein hoes,
Ni raid inni boeni mwyach
Ble mae’n bagiau,

Dyma un daith sydd ar gyfer dwylo rhydd

BAGGAGE CAROUSEL

1

A bag is born,
a good baby
the quiet one beside you,
It scares away seat-sharers,
makes companions draw back,
here on the seat
its leathery tongue blub-blubbing
its mouth
an open and shut case,
until you close those lips;
the bag is your memory, too,
your mobile, your squidgy purse,
your headache pills, your gloves,
it holds your sunglasses –
this basketful of light
on the long journey into night.

This is the still centre of the burning world, between your fingers.


2

Only women have fully understood
the possibilities of the little bag:
Yesterday I opened a drawer
and found them lying there,
the red leather one, found
in Manila, one to hide under your coat;
another, studded with jewels for a reception
I take for a little walk to escape idle chit-chat
And find it sanctuary in the ladies’ toilet;
one a shoulder bag,
one that’s a second backbone,
a strong support for your newly-freed hands;
the wear and tear of handbags tells women’s histories;
the tissues which hide the tears,
the order of service, folded in two
to keep out the tears and rain.
In grief, a bag is a stout companion
who truly understands the way ties slacken.


3

What lay behind the snicket of the joke
About Thatcher and her bag?
And where, exactly, was it
When the bomb blew up in Brighton?


4

Midnight at Seiont Manor.
I woke and saw a man
sneaking over my balcony;
When I got out of bed and chased him
There was my bag,
sat there as buck-naked as myself,
shining under a full moon,
open to the whole world.


5

On a tram, in Amsterdam,
a step onto the pavement,
My bag undone
Above the raw lights of this street.


6

Once, as I stood on the pavement
in London,
in our days of protest,
I was mistaken for a whore
because my hands were handbag-less.


7

One of the first words in the Big Book
to live in my mind
was ‘scrip’.
I drew a duffle bag of imagination around me –
Did Adam weave a sack?
Did Abraham rustle up a wallet
to carry his terrible plan up the mountain top?
There couldn’t possibly have been enough bags in the world  
To hold all Noah’s beasties?


8

If one plastic bag
takes a thousand years to rot
Why can’t we in Wales
ban them from our plot?


9

It’s not easy for a committed baglady
to understand anybody who,
rucksack on back, passes through the station,
his shoulders weighed down with Death,
to a strait, dark gate
on a lovely summer’s morning,
to pull a string,
and lay himself, as well
at the trampling feet of suffering

his gift –
a bagful of sorrows.

Other bags are brought
to forensicize limbs and matter
that’s beyond and outside matter –
the only matter that truly matters.


10

The traveller true has one refrain
I’d rather get back home again
Than wait in the rain without my luggage.


11

‘Have fun,’ said the Dutchwoman
As I paid three euros for her bag
on Orange day in the Prinsengracht;
The day I took her satchel home
I felt like a carefree girl.
I intuited the satchel would like a bike.


12

Of all my home’s possessions
The wastepaper basket by my feet
Is my best and dearest friend.
Once it jiggled on the handlebars
of my mother’s bike as she,
a pretty minister’s wife
rode up and down, doing good deeds;
I can smell the lemon in her cake
rise to my nostrils,
see her marble cake whirl
before it swirls into place;
and my fingers, licking icing.

When I look again
the basket is empty
nothing but greybellied words,
cuttings scattered
yn  ‘eisteddfa gwatwarwyr’


13

It’s an old workshop trick,
the question,
‘What’s in the bag?’
A sort of poetry-world
What’s My Line?
The mentor ventures
to mention what the bag shouldn’t contain,
e.g. sinews, and blood, and bone,
reptiles or severed hands.

Today I am watching a CCTV film and
I see the bags.
Oh, how they could be packed
with climbing gear, with flasks
to ease your thirst at the journey’s end.
Oh, how they could be full
of gifts, a late present for a lover
or a new book to read.

But the imagination dulls,
threadbare from humanity’s wear and tear,
its evil, so black and merciless.

This is a game without rhyme, or reason.
It is no longer appropriate.


14

Plath said
that poets make the most sublime packers
each word squeezed in tight
before we sit on the case, struggle to get it shut.


15

At the Assembly
(according to the wags)
the esteemed lady members
worry where to place their bags.

16

At life’s end
no need to worry
where we left our bags
this is the journey we need to take without our baggage.
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